If you were walking down the street and you saw a $5 note, would you pass it by? Probably not. Yet so many of us willingly hand over $5 here and $5 there, when we don’t really need to.
Sometimes it’s because we’re not planning ahead (in the case of ATM fees, for example). Sometimes it’s because we choose convenience over money. Other times it’s because we simply forget about all the little things we’ve signed up for, and we allow direct debits to take over our bank accounts because we’re not being mindful.
We’re not judging you and your spending choices. But we are going to point out some of the tiny expenses that you could easily eliminate from your life. In turn, you might be able to play with an extra $10, $50 or $100 in your budget. (You can thank us later.)
Ahead, check out our tips on the things you should reconsider spending money on.
1. Bank fees
While once it seemed standard to sign up with a bank and accept that they’d charge whatever they wanted, no questions asked, those days are behind us. Or at least they should be. If you’re sick of paying bank fees, you have options.
Banks such as ING and Up Bank are disrupting the game with their fee-free bank accounts. While there may be some minor conditions, even the less savvy among us can do their banking without worrying about any annoying charges cropping up on their statement.
Our pro tip? Check the terms and conditions any time you step outside your usual routine. For example, ING’s Orange Everyday account will charge you a 2.5% international transaction fee, but if you meet certain conditions, such as make regular deposits into your account and make at least 5 card purchases using your ING debit or credit card, they will send you a rebate for the full amount the following month.
Bye bye, bank fees!
2. Bottled water
Few things in life are free, but compared to bottled water, tap water practically is. And that’s exactly why we recommend you halt your practice of buying bottled water for good.
All you need to do is buy a reusable water bottle and get into the habit of filling it up when you’re heading out the door. Not only will you save money but carrying a reusable water bottle is also far more environmentally friendly than buying plastic water bottles on the go.
Maybe you’ve thought about this option before, but you’re worried you’ll never be able to find water when you want it. Thanks to apps such as Choose Tap, this is no longer a problem.
3. Individually packed produce
We won’t deny the convenience of individually packed and/or pre-sliced produce. When you’ve had a long day at work, it’s so much easier to buy pre-peeled, pre-chopped potato cubes than it is to slice and dice for half an hour just to get some mashed potatoes in your belly.
But you’re going to pay extra for the convenience.
To get an example for you, we recently checked out the prices on Coles for pre-packaged baby spinach. If you bought loose-leaf baby spinach, you’d pay $15.98 per kg. If you bought pre-bagged baby spinach, you’d pay $25 per kg.
That’s almost double the price! — and this is just one example of how you can save money simply by being savvy at the supermarket. (Say that three times fast!)
4. Fancy cleaning supplies
Okay, so some cleaning supplies have specific uses, and we’re okay with that. But sometimes you can take a one-product-fits-all approach.
For example, do you really need kitchen surface wipes, a cooktop cleaner, and a shower and bath spray when you could make do with a single bottle of multipurpose cleaner?
There are times that you’ll need cleaning supplies that serve a single use. You may want to use a particular laundry liquid for your regular laundry and a wool and delicates laundry liquid for, well, your wool products and delicates. But outside that? You can probably hold back.
P.S. If you wanted to be particularly thrifty, do a quick search on Google for do-it-yourself cleaning supplies. You’ll find a lot of recipes you can safely and cheaply make at home.
5. Clothes you’ll wear just once
Picture the scene: You’re heading to the wedding of one of your friends. It’s the second this year and you’ve got another two coming up. So, you want to look good and impress, naturally, but you also don’t want to wear the same thing. You’re unique!
In this choose-your-own-adventure story, you have two options ahead of you:
Option A: You buy a designer $339 dress, wear it once, hang it in your wardrobe.
Option B: You rent a designer dress, for $79, and send it back.
Sure, you don’t have a designer dress hanging in your wardrobe. But you may be $260 better off, you’ve worn a designer label, you impressed everyone, and you didn’t have to deal with dry-cleaning your oh-so-fancy frock. That kinda sounds like a win to us.
If you’re keen on Option B generally, check out sites such as Glam Corner, Designerex, Her Wardrobe and so on. You’re bound to find something you love.
6. Unused subscriptions
Fun fact: If you were to ask your bank to provide you with a list of every direct debit you’ve signed up for, you would receive it. And you might be shocked. Or horrified.
But it also might prove useful if you have a bunch of unused subscriptions.
For instance, are you signed up for Apple Music and Spotify?
Are you signed up for Netflix, Stan and Hayu all at once?
Are you still signed up for a gym membership that you’re not using?
Are you paying for a newspaper to arrive on your doorstep when you’re reading it online?
We’re not judging. But you might find that you can whittle down your subscriptions to just one or two. You might even find that you can cancel some altogether. While $5 a month for a streaming subscription might not seem like something worth worrying about, all the little $5 and $10 charges do add up to a larger figure — and that’s worth thinking about.